Coastal Angler magazine Boating and Fishing Expo
June 12, 9 AM – 6PM
Boaters Exchange, 2145 US 1, Rockledge FL
Speakers include Keith Kalbfleisch, Chris Myers, Rodney Smith, Ron Presley, Tommy Smith, Jerry Butz, Rich Lasby, and me. We hope to see you there!
Tuesday morning found me wheeling down to the Keys with Rodney Smith behind the wheel. We’d been invited by Columbia Sportswear Company (www.columbia.com) to participate in their Seagrass Grow project. We stopped at Robbie’s to see the tarpon. Rodney leaned out over the water to get a better view. When he did this his sunglasses fell off. Of course a voracious tarpon ate them. Ouchie!
As anyone who fishes in shallow water can see, seagrass beds are constantly being plowed up by careless boaters. The resulting prop dredge trenches can erode and in extreme cases the entire grass bed can be lost. Columbia is working with Bass Pro Shops (www.basspro.com), the Ocean Foundation (www.oceanfdn.org), and Seagrass Recovery (www.seagrassrecovery.com) to mend a demonstration area near the Worldwide Sportsman store. They have big fish to fry, with the ambitious goal of doing this restoration work on a global scale. Right on!
If you can donate any money to this cause it certainly is worthwhile. Visit the websites listed for more information.
We were housed at Cheeca Lodge (www.cheeca.com), a plush resort oceanside at Islamorada. Wednesday morning we boarded boats and were taken out to the restoration site. We were shown how the work is done, and then were able to actually do some of that work ourselves. When we finished the demo project we were given the afternoon off. Rodney and I were joined by a delightful young woman by the name of Stephanie Pankratz and we all went snorkeling out near Alligator Light. I hadn’t been snorkeling in several years and I must say it took a lot out of me. But it was great fun and I would certainly do it again.
Thursday five of us boarded the Hunter, a 33’ World Cat captained by Capt. Chris Barth. We headed to the Hump off Islamorada, where our first several fish were small blackfin tuna. Then we went after dolphin. We found enough that everyone caught some and I even got one on my seven-weight, using a 2/0 Electric Sushi fly. The biggest (which I did not get) was about 30 pounds, a magnificent fish. It was a long, hot day on the water and we were all pretty whacked by the time we got back to Worldwide Sportsman.
I’d like to thank Columbia, Bass Pro, and Cheeca Lodge for inviting me to the event. I had a great time and learned a lot about how we can all start repairing boat damage to seagrass beds. Thank you!
Remember- embrace simplicity.